Driving in Florida
Driving in Florida can seen daunting but it is actually easier than many visitors imagine. With a little preparation, driving in Florida and around Orlando can be a great and enjoyable experience.
Turning right on red
When driving in Florida, turning right on a red light is permitted provided there are no oncoming traffic or signs advising to the contrary. In such circumstances, oncoming traffic has right of way and must be adhered to at all times. The vehicle must come to a complete stop before moving away on a red.
Lights are suspended above the road and are simple to follow. The lane you are in will have a light directly ahead which is the signal to adhere to.
Ensure the parking area selected is designated otherwise your vehicle is liable for towing and the costs to reclaim the vehicle can be very high. Also avoid parking in front of fire hydrants.
Florida state law has very strict seat belt laws which must be adhered to at all times. The driver and front seat passenger must wear belts at all times and each passenger under the age of 18 must also wear a seat belt of child restraint.
Fuel is comparatively cheap and sold in gallons (around 3.8 litres) with all rental vehicles running on unleaded fuel. Gas stations are a common sight with pre payment necessary. Simply pay the cashier the amount you wish to fill up and the pump cuts off when the point is reached. Alternately, a card can be used by pre authorising on the 'at pump' credit card machine.
Florida highways have lots of signs so ensure you remain aware for your exit. Should you miss your interstate exit, proceed to the next exit and re-enter the opposite carriage for exit at the correct point. Orlando is particularly well signposted with each exit numbered so maps are easy to read and attractions easily located.
Driving in the rain
If you switch on your wipers whilst driving due to the rain, the vehicles lights should also be switched on and remain so until the rain passes or the wipers are turned off.
Drinking and driving
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE! The laws are very strict and the allowable limits are very low so its better not to drink at all if you are driving.
Alcohol in vehicles
It is also against state law to carry alcohol in the vehicle. Any alcohol should be kept in the trunk (boot) and in a bag.
Drivers are required to move over to the next lane or slow down to at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing or approaching emergency vehicles stopped on the highway.
If you see a yellow school bus stopped with lights flashing you are required to stop and wait for the lights to stop flashing, regardless of the side of road you are on.
Do not speed whilst driving in Florida as Highway Patrol are strict. Additionally, minimum speeds also exist on some Interstates tasked with keeping traffic moving so these should also be maintained.
If heading out, plan your trip on a map carefully and appoint a co-driver to assist in the navigation. Point out exit numbers and highways so the co-driver is aware.
Stay alert as 'undertaking' is permitted in the US so you could potentially have vehicles overtaking on both sides.